Synthetic Faux-Suede material : Alternatives to Suede Leather

A list of faux-suede synthetic materials that replicate the look and feel of genuine suede leather, offering sustainable and cruelty-free alternatives.

faux suede

Suede is a natural leather product with an attractive velvety napped surface. It is an expensive material and has some disadvantages like getting dirty fast, being weak, and not being durable enough. It is also difficult to clean as moisture can damage its appearance.

Faux suede or Suedette or suede like materials that offers a number of benefits that the natural suede doesn’t provide, but imitate the look and feel of suede have been created.

‘Suedette’ is the term used for all types of imitation suede.

Different types of suede-like materials

There are many alternatives to suede available in the market nowadays.They are used to make all the things that are made with suede – jackets and vests, bags, hats. Because of the lightweight nature of synthetic suede they are great for making all types of clothes, draperies, upholstery covers, accent pillow covers etc.

The suede like fabrics are of 3 types. 

1.Synthetic suede with a knit/woven backing. Ultrasuede or microsuede, Alcantara are synthetic suede. 

2.Nonwoven synthetic suede.

3. Other suede like materials are sueded silk and sueded cotton.

Synthetic suede with backing

Woven/knit synthetic suede fabrics are widely used for upholstery and drapery. 


Ultrasuede was first developed by a Japanese scientist called Miyoshi Okamoto in 1970. It was composed of 80% polyester microfiber and 20% polyurethane plastic.

Unlike the original suede, Ultrasuede can be washed and tumble dried. It has a wide range of applications, including industrial and consumer uses. 

It is very easy to make anything with Ultrasuede. You can sew it like any other material. Microtex needles are recommended for sewing this material, though other common universal/sharp needles can be used. 


This is a super efficient faux-suede. A joint venture between Japanese Toray industries and Italian firm Alcantara produced a synthetic suede similar to Ultrasuede named Alcantara. Alcantara is commonly used in upscale vehicle interiors and designer handbag lining. You can read about the material in the company website

Nonwoven Suede

Nonwoven suede is a lot like leather in its bulkiness and nature so you will have to treat it like leather (in sewing). But the difference is that it is easy to care for. You can wash them. They do not shrink in the wash. The edges also doesnot fray. Nonwoven suedes are costlier.

Suede like fabrics – Sueded silk and cotton

When silk and cotton are subjected to a special chemical process, they render a similar texture to that of suede. Unlike original suede, they can be machine washed.

Advantages of faux-suede

Faux-suede’s are high quality, durable, at an affordable price point. They are lightweight than suede. And as pliable as the original suede. And easy to wash and care for than the suede. You can even wash it in a washing machine

Because of its non-permeability to water, they do not water spot. The material does not produce lint. The colors are stead fast, unlike for real suede which can look worse for wear after some time.

A disadvantage of faux-suede

Faux suede materials are not usually water- absorbent. They are mostly made of synthetic fibers. The water will just bead up on the surface and roll off. This can be termed as an advantage, as this makes them water-repellent

Related posts: What is suede leather?; What are the different types of leather; What is bonded leather; How to sew vinyl, pleather.

Subscribe to get weekly notifications of posts in your email

Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.